Officials in the United States (US) have reached a breakthrough in their investigation into the potential cause of the outbreak of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that recent laboratory testing of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid samples from 29 patients with EVALI submitted to CDC found vitamin E acetate in all of the BAL fluid samples.
The CDC says this is the first time it has detected a potential chemical of concern in biologic samples from patients with these lung injuries, and that these findings provide direct evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury within the lungs.
It stressed, however, that more studies are needed to establish whether a causal link exists between this exposure and EVALI. “Based on these data from 29 patients, it appears that vitamin E acetate is associated with EVALI; however, it is possible that more than one compound or ingredient could be a cause of lung injury, and evidence is not yet sufficient to rule out contribution of other toxicants to EVALI,” it said.
As of 5 November, 2,051 cases of EVALI had been reported across 49 states, the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands.